Drama series. There is an impending crisis in the Caribbean - the Soviet Union has placed nuclear missiles on the island of Cuba. Jack is being pressured to attack.
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-They don't want me anymore, Jack and Bobby.
When I went to Washington the other day, that was what it was about.
-Did I miss an appointment?
-Oh, no, sir. I was upstairs with Mrs Kennedy.
I've been treating her for some time now, sir.
I'm trying to do my job, and sometimes there just -
there aren't enough hours in the day, Jack.
Mr President, your father has suffered a massive stroke.
-BOBBY: Will he fully recover?
-There may be some marginal improvement.
I would appreciate a direct answer.
I don't think so.
This government, as promised, has maintained
the closest surveillance of the Soviet military build-up
on the island of Cuba.
Unmistakable evidence has established the fact
that a series of offensive missile sites
is now in preparation on that imprisoned island.
The purpose of these bases can be none other
than to provide a nuclear strike capability
against the western hemisphere.
It shall be the policy of this nation
to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba
against any nation in the western hemisphere
as an attack
by the Soviet Union on the United States,
requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.
Little better. Still uneasy.
I changed the dose slightly, Mr President,
-so if you experience discomfort, please contact me.
Ah, Mrs Kennedy. I haven't seen you in some time.
I hope you're feeling well.
Very well, thank you.
No problems weaning yourself off the medication?
Just a few restless nights, but that's about all.
Yeah, she's doing great. Thank you.
Enjoy your evening, Mr President.
-Can you zip me up?
I'm feeling so much better now that I'm not doing those shots.
-Well, I'm glad.
-Maybe you should think about stopping.
It's the only thing that keeps me going.
What else are they doing to you?
I don't care if it's horse piss. It works.
You know he's not a doctor? He's not even a member of the AMA.
Maybe that's why he's so effective.
Yes? Yeah, we're on our way.
Come on, we got to...
You look beautiful. I love the dress.
Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States
and the First Lady.
I think you're gonna like it.
Well, I am prepared to, er, suffer for it.
PLAYING CLASSICAL MUSIC
-That's the end of the first movement.
WHISPERS: Mr President,
there's an emergency phone call for you in the oval office.
They need me downstairs.
I said I'd go to the Girl Scouts' jamboree,
and he agreed to go to two concerts and a ballet.
But skipping out in the middle renders this one null and void.
I'm hoping for an increase in government spending on the arts.
Jackie, a president's work is never done.
Sure, Ben. Stick up for your friend.
-That is what men do, isn't it?
-Jackie, you know my sister, Mary Meyer.
I sent you the catalogue from her showing at the Findlay gallery.
I just came by to say goodnight.
You know the Eisenhowers kept this place like a barracks?
You have turned it into a palace.
A wonderful party.
MAN: I want to know Where the wind comes from.
WOMAN: The wind begins in a cave.
Far to the north, a young god sleeps in that cave...
-I didn't think you would be at this thing tonight.
-Change of plans.
How are you?
Anybody see you leave the party?
Since when do you worry about that?
Do you never get tired of this movie?
No. No. It's Kirk, for God sakes.
I'm gonna have to run back upstairs.
-Do you want me to leave?
-KIRK: Every line...
I want to know every part of you.
-If my husband were sleeping with Mary, she wouldn't be on my guest list.
-Jackie puts up with it.
She must figure if it's inevitable, she might as well make it convenient.
TISH: Mrs Kennedy, Will the President be returning?
No, he won't.
These people have each donated 1,000 to the foundation.
They expect a picture with him.
Then they'll have to settle for me.
Thank you, ma'am.
-And I'll send his regrets in the morning.
-I'll set it up.
I'm taking the kids to Virginia in the morning.
I'll stay a while and do my work from there.
-You didn't come back. It was humiliating.
Well, I had to go downstairs and -
It was humiliating.
How's Mary Meyer?
She was specifically not on the guest list.
I didn't know she was gonna be there tonight.
Well, what a great surprise for you.
Do you ever think about what that looks like?
I thought we had an agreement.
Rather you, er, didn't all leave.
-MAN: Mr Bundy's on his way up.
KNOCK ON DOOR
Well, he's already here.
I'm sorry to disturb you, sir. We've got some serious trouble.
Our U2 flights over Cuba took these yesterday -
Russian MRBM Missile sites,
SS-four type, IRBMS.
Are these operational?
Not yet, but based on the size of those construction crews, they could be within a week.
At that point, they could deliver nuclear payloads
to every major city on the east coast.
These are the latest surveillance photos from Cuba.
We don't know how many missiles the Russians have there
or whether they are operational at the present time.
I think you can assume if they're not operational they will be soon, sir.
Well, we can't coexist with, er, nuclear missiles 90 miles off our shores.
We got to get rid of those. What are the options, Bob?
Militarily, there are three -
surgical strike on the missiles, an attack on the missiles
and the control-and-command centres throughout the island,
or an all-out invasion of the island.
Sir, I think that jumping to a military option
-without having exhausted all our diplomatic avenues -
-No, no, no. No-one's jumping, Dean.
-The president's considering all options here.
-Khrushchev's a brawler, Mr Secretary.
He only understands brute force. I'm with Bob.
We can't have the president being pushed around
by Khrushchev or Castro or anybody else.
Air force surveillance just picked up 19 Soviet ships in the Atlantic, heading toward Cuba.
Do we know what they're, er, carrying?
I think we can presume it's more weapons.
Sir, we need to put a military option on the table.
No, I agree with that, Bob. I just, er... I-I don't want to make any, er,
decision here without, er, understanding what in god's name, er, Khrushchev is thinking.
Mr President, I think the man's actions are a pretty good indicator of what he's thinking.
BUNDY: Castro made a compelling argument that we're gonna overthrow his regime.
Khrushchev sent in the missiles to keep us from doing it.
BENNETT: It's more than that, Mac.
He wants to bully us into submission, sir.
Thinks I'm weak, cos of the Bay of Pigs.
-That's right, sir.
-But the fact remains, we still don't know what's on these ships.
I want to know what pressures he's under,
what he's being advised by his, er, people in the Kremlin.
Well, I think we can assume, sir, they're advising him to take the aggressive course.
I think it's very dangerous to start making assumptions right now, General.
I just, er, want to try and put myself in his shoes.
Fine, sir. But if you do choose a military option, we're gonna have to move fast.
We're, er, getting more specifics now, sir.
Well, I would say we have to get a, er, direct line of communication to Moscow.
We could get secretary Rusk to talk to ambassador Dobrynin.
You do it.
-No, no, no, no. Protocol dictates that...
-Forget about protocol.
Dobrynin knows Bobby, knows Bobby speaks for me.
I'll set it up.
Your back hurting?
Jackie took the kids, went up to Virginia.
Well, that's probably best, considering.
Wasn't about this.
I think she's finished with me.
Why. What happened?
Well, I'm not a kid anymore, but...
But I keep acting like one.
The kids are fine, Jack.
How long, er, how long do you think you're gonna stay up there?
I don't know.
I just wanted to say that I, er...
I miss you.
I have to go.
Send him in.
What did Dobrynin say?
Well, he claims there are no missiles in Cuba.
I showed him the, er, surveillance photos. He said they're fabricated.
He claims, er, Khrushchev only wants peace.
That's what Hitler said right before the blitz.
McNamara sent that over.
It's the, er, contingency plans for military operations.
That's been the consensus over there?
Surgical strike, followed by invasion.
What do you think?
Well, given what we know at the moment, er,
it certainly is our best chance at success,
including getting rid of Castro.
Frankly, at this stage, I don't think the, er, diplomatic process is gonna pay off.
I just..just don't know what, er, Khrushchev stands to gain in all this.
I mean, Christ, he knows what our, er, nuclear arsenal is.
It's not a secret.
Well, I get the impression that he, er, thinks we're afraid to use it.
But you looked him in the eye. What do you think?
MAN SPEAKING RUSSIAN
In southeast Asia and Latin America,
people's revolutions are lighting the lamp of freedom and human dignity.
We have a difference of opinion over what constitutes freedom and human dignity, Mr Chairman,
but I...I reject the historic belief that our differences can only be resolved through armed conflict.
Then you miscalculate the history, Mr President.
You lost, er, 20 million people in the war, Mr Chairman.
With our arsenals and our delivery systems today,
twice that many Russians would die in the first hour.
Then it's a good thing we have so many.
You should have enough clothes to get you through the week.
Bobby, how bad's it gonna be?
I was talking with Marg McNamara. She said Bob said it could be the end of everything.
What did he mean?
I think he's just, er, being melodramatic, really.
I want you to have this.
It was your mother's.
I've used it every day since she died.
Help Jack. Keep us safe.
What are you doing here?
Oh, I was in the neighbourhood.
Did Bobby send you here to fix my marriage?
He doesn't know I'm here. That's the truth.
Well, you knew where to find me, so I assume you know...
Why I'm here.
I know we haven't always been sorority pals.
I never fit in with the family the way you have.
I always figured it was because you didn't want to.
You're-you're your own person, Jackie. I-I admire that.
Tell you the truth, I, er...
Always been a little bit intimidated by it.
You're intimidated by me?
Every woman in America wants to be like you.
-They want to look like you, they want to dress like you...
You start getting all humble on me,
that's really gonna piss me off.
You know what intimidates me?
Someone who can raise a family and have a marriage that works,
and who makes it all look so easy.
If I had your secret, I'd trade it all in for every magazine cover I've been on.
So how do you do it?
It's no secret, Jackie. I...
I don't know what goes on between you and Jack.
Frankly, it's none of my business. I...
I came here because I'm worried about what's going on at the White House.
What do you mean?
I don't know the specifics, but I do know that it's serious.
It's always serious.
It's different this time, Jackie. It's dangerous.
Bobby, McNamara, Bundy -
they've all been working around the clock.
I can only imagine what Jack must be going through.
'We just received photos from the CIA, revealing five additional missile sites on the island.'
They report that the Soviets could have between 16 and 32 missiles ready to fire within several days.
Mac, what is the timeline on those ships?
About 3,800 miles away from Cuba.
At the current rate of speed, they should be there in about a week.
Mr President, a week is a - is a lifetime.
The real threat is the missiles already on the island.
I mean, millions of American citizens will die if they're launched,
and Khrushchev is just crazy enough to do it.
I don't know if you're right about that, General. I mean, he's a - he's a bully,
but, er, I don't think he's hostile.
-Don't think he's, er, insane enough to want to start a war.
-What if you're wrong, sir?
-I could be, and we should sustain the military option.
-We're running out of time, sir.
-They're arming these missiles as we speak.
-I understand that, General,
but if I am right, I want to give Khrushchev
as much time as possible to convince the people around him
that a Goddamn war is not the option.
Sir, we need to strike and we need to strike now.
But what you're suggesting is a first strike,
and a strike without warning will be viewed internationally
as an unprovoked assault. So if we do this,
against a small country like Cuba,
well, it's Pearl Harbour all over again,
only this time, it's in reverse.
And my brother will not go down in history
as the American Tojo.
So let's rethink this.
The difficulty we face is, we can't guarantee
getting rid of the missiles that are already there.
Well, that's exactly, er, why, in my opinion, er,
we should focus on stopping these ships.
That's a more manageable situation.
We could, er, revisit the blockade idea, sir.
Establishing a-a demarcation line
of, say, 500 miles from the Cuban mainland.
A blockade is an interesting idea.
But the issue still remains- a blockade is illegal
under international law.
Then we call it a quarantine. Nothing illegal about that.
MAN: there has been A virtual news blackout
throughout Washington regarding the Cuban situation.
Whether or not this crisis can be resolved peaceably or not
is the burning question, the question to which
source in the White house, the pentagon,
and the State Department have refused to comment,
leaving the American people to wait
and wonder what President Kennedy will say
when he takes to the air tonight.
-Mother, it's Bobby.
Hello, dear. We're just getting ready to watch Jack.
Well, that's actually why I'm- why I'm calling.
I just wanted to let you know that, er,
there may be some things in his speech
that, er, sound a little frightening to you.
Uh, I didn't want you and dad to worry.
Well, with everything we're hearing, we are concerned.
Move him, will you? I-I can't see the set.
-Has Jack been to mass?
-No, I-I don't think so.
We've been, er, kind of busy with things here.
Well, wish him luck.
-Let him know we're very proud of him.
Love you. Bye.
MAN: Their status might be Changed to that of active duty
at a moment's notice. We switch you now to the Oval Office.
Ladies and gentlemen,
the President of the United States.
Good evening, my fellow citizens.
This government, as promised,
has maintained the closest surveillance
of the Soviet military build-up on the island of Cuba.
Within the past week, unmistakable evidence
has established the fact
that a series of offensive missile sites
is now in preparation on that imprisoned island.
The purpose of these bases can be none other
than to provide a nuclear first-strike capability
against the western hemisphere.
I call upon chairman Khrushchev to halt and eliminate
this clandestine, reckless, and provocative threat to world peace.
The cost of freedom is always high,
and Americans have always paid it.
And one path we shall never choose -
and that is the path of surrender or submission.
Our goal is not the victory of might,
but the vindication of right,
not peace at the expense of freedom, but both peace and freedom.
God willing, that goal will be achieved.
Thank you and good night.
Mac, how far are those Russian ships from the blockade?
They've just moved to the 100-mile mark.
OK. In terms of time, are they -
Mr President, our sonar's just picked up two Russian subs with SLBN Capability
escorting the ships.
OK, so if we, er, if we stop their ships, they can retaliate.
Retaliate with their subs, yes, sir. Khrushchev has just upped the ante,
risking a confrontation 7,000 miles from Moscow.
Gentlemen, could I, er, have your attention, please?
-Jack, state department just received this from Khrushchev.
Uh, "You have not declared a quarantine, but rather have set forth an ultimatum
"and threatened that if we do not give in to your demands, you will use force. "
"Naturally, we will not be bystanders with regards to piratical acts
"by American ships on the high seas.
"We will be forced to take measures we consider necessary
"and adequate in order to protect our rights,
"and we have everything necessary to do so."
Christ, he's calling us out.
Yes, sir. And we cannot capitulate.
If we don't stop those ships, our entire deterrent system loses all credibility.
-What are the, er... What are the steps?
-We signal our intent to board.
They don't acknowledge, we fire a warning shot across their bow.
-And, er, if they keep coming?
-Then we take out Their rudders and leave them dead in the water.
-Which runs the risk of killing Russian sailors.
-And a retaliation from Khrushchev.
It's the nature of conflict, sir.
I know the nature of conflict, General. I've been in it.
-You have no choice but to stop those ships.
Sir, I still believe a diplomatic solution is possible.
That's just about the most meaningless thing I've ever heard, Dean.
We're well beyond diplomacy at this point.
Khrushchev is gonna run the damned blockade.
Sir, I agree with the attorney general.
We have to stop those ships,
and I recommend that we deploy helos and sub seekers from Key West to stop the subs.
Do you wanna start World War III?
Decisive action would surgically remove the missiles,
confronting the world with a fait accompli.
Let's not forget about the political advantage...
Militarily, there's no options here.
-There's no other alternative...
MAN: Strategic air command B-52 bombers,
already on a massive worldwide airborne alert,
are now flying 24-hour missions.
Before one B-52 leaves its airborne station,
another is airborne to take its place.
If we fire on their ships, and they-they do retaliate,
that initiates a full-scale engagement.
We already know from the CIA
that the Soviets have brought their military forces
-into a complete state of readiness.
-Are we ready?
Yes, sir. We're at defcon 2, sir. We're ready.
Their ships will, er,
not be permitted to cross that line.
Use whatever means necessary to stop them.
Bobby, talk to Dobrynin. He needs to get word to Khrushchev.
Those ships will be stopped.
Russian embassy, please.
It seems to, er, the observer, er, of the scene
that, er, that Cuba has to be the point of the crisis.
This is the point at which, er,
we are concerned that, er, there might be shooting,
er, among the ships at sea.
That, er, in the story that we heard a great deal of today,
the possibility that invasion might have to be undertaken
to assure that those bases are eliminated.
Uh, if invasion is undertaken,
er, the Russians have said that they would retaliate with, er, rocket fire.
Well, we've given this man every chance to avoid war.
If it happens now, it's because he wanted it in the first place.
Civil defence becomes a major problem now.
There's no contingency to evacuate 100 million people
-from the east coast.
We just received word from admiral ward on the Essex.
Did we fire, er, fire on those ships?
The Soviet ships have stopped their advance toward the line.
They're turning around.
-BOBBY: and what- What about the subs?
-They've stopped also.
But, sir, we still have those operational missile sites
-on the island.
-I find Khrushchev's actions very encouraging, sir.
I think he just showed us he wants this over as much as we do.
May I suggest we stay at defcon 2, sir?
OK, fine. But no provocative action. Khrushchev just stood up to the hawks in the Kremlin.
-I don't wanna give him a reason to regret it.
-Very good, sir.
Yes. Well, thank you, Mr Prime minister.
-The, er, State Department
just translated this letter from Khrushchev.
It was written before the ships had turned around.
"Mr President, only lunatics and suicides,
"who themselves want to perish,
"would think of waging nuclear war.
"We in the Soviet Union want to live and do not at all want to destroy your country.
"I propose we will declare that our ships, bound for Cuba,
"will not carry any kind of armaments.
"You will declare that the United States will not invade Cuba."
-No mention about missiles in Turkey?
-Does Mac know about this?
-I wanted to speak to you.
Mrs Lincoln, could you get me Mr Bundy?
-(Mrs Lincoln) Yes, sir.
-So how would you like to proceed?
Well, I wanna prepare a, er, private response
-to Mr Khrushchev's letter.
No public statement. I don't wanna rub his nose in it.
He's gonna have a hard enough time keeping his job after all this.
I'll put something together.
You tell McNamara and that general-
alert the entire chain of command, nobody moves
against the Russians without my expressed order.
I don't want this whole thing to unravel because some second lieutenant didn't get the word.
'Mr Bundy is on his way up, Mr President.'
-Could you try, er, Mrs Kennedy in Virginia?
'Line one is ringing, sir.'
TELEPHONE RINGS OUT
How's it all going?
Good. It looks, er...
like Khrushchev's gonna back down.
When did you...
I'm glad you're here.
How are the kids?
-Jack. You, er, you better come down here.
-What's the matter?
The Russians shot down one of our U-2s over Cuba,
killed the pilot.
It appears to be an act of war.
All right, thank you.
Well, Dobrynin swears that, er, Khrushchev insisted
none of our planes be shot at,
that one of the anti-aircraft batteries never got the word.
-You don't believe that crap, do you, sir?
-I know this man.
I've never known him to be emotional before,
and he was damned near in tears just now, general.
We based our whole approach on this campaign
on not pushing Khrushchev into a corner.
By shooting down that plane, that's exactly what he's done to me.
Well, Mr President, we can speculate all day,
but the fact of the matter is that we have a plane down
and a US Airman dead. What are we gonna do about it?
Excuse me. This was just received from Khrushchev.
"You, President Kennedy,
"have surrounded the Soviet Union
"with military bases,
"surrounded our allies with military bases,
"literally dispersed military bases around the country
"and stationed your rocket armaments there.
"You are worried about Cuba because it is a distance
"of 90 miles from the American coast.
"However, Turkey is next to us -
"literally at our elbow.
"We agree to remove from Cuba
"those means which you regard as offensive means.
"You will remove your analogous means from Turkey."
You can't allow Khrushchev to dictate
-how we defend our allies.
-Aren't we doing that to him?
That's not the same thing. We've had missiles in Turkey for years.
Those Jupiter missiles are obsolete. It wouldn't be the worst thing if we took them out.
No, the general's right. I can't agree to a quid pro quo
when Khrushchev's got his foot on my neck. It's a perception issue.
This seems odd to me, Jack.
I find it hard to believe that these two letters
-came from the same source.
-Well, I don't think they did.
I mean, this-this first letter is all emotion.
You can hear Khrushchev's voice in this.
That letter, Mac, is cold. It's dry and bureaucratic.
I think, er, Khrushchev's getting, er, push back
from his foreign ministry because he didn't run the blockade.
It doesn't matter.
-We have to respond to this communication.
I'm sorry, Bobby. I don't understand the question.
Well, who cares if we got two letters?
I say we respond to the first one.
And ignore the second altogether?
I like that very much.
Sir, I've never heard of simply ignoring a letter
from the Russian foreign ministry.
Well, Dean, we are the, er, party of progress.
No, Mac, I think you, er,
draft a response to the first letter.
-Tell Khrushchev we're very, er, encouraged by his attitude. Be vague.
even if we ignore this second letter,
that doesn't mean that the issue about Turkey
is gonna go away. Khrushchev is gonna want something in return for taking his missiles out of Cuba.
-Bobby, are you sure Dobrynin has a direct line with Khrushchev?
Then you talk to him.
Tell him they've got to get those missiles out of Cuba now.
If they don't, we will.
Six months from now...
When all this is forgotten,
we'll, er, we'll agree to go into, er,
Turkey in the middle of the night, and we'll take the damn things out ourselves.
Both sides agree not to go public with this,
but their, er, their deadline for this...
So what if he doesn't agree?
Well, they're shooting down our planes.
We're gonna start shooting back.
("Danny boy" playing on piano)
JACK CONTINUES PLAYING
Well...if this continues to go badly,
I, er, I want you and the kids
to move to the shelter in Maryland.
What about you?
There's a secure area downstairs.
I'm not leaving you, Jack.
I want to be here no matter what happens.
Now here me on this -
I want the attack wing prepared for wheels up
the second the President gives his directive.
Kick the tires and light the fires.
We've informed members of the OES That we're prepared
to commence military intervention
if we don't hear from Khrushchev by 2:00 PM Washington time.
-We're down to 90 minutes.
-Give Khrushchev a couple more hours.
-We can't let this thing drag on forever, it only helps him.
-We should go in early, sir.
-Get a jump on him.
-You can't jump the deadline, Tom!
-What the hell Are you talking about?
-We're not going until we say...
-Could you all be quiet, please?
Jack, Khrushchev, er, is on the radio in Moscow.
Can you, er, repeat that, please?
No, no, you-you stay on the line with me.
I want to know precisely what he said, word for word.
He-he said what?
Did he, er, did he give a timeline?
Jack, he just went on the air to make sure that we heard,
without any delay,
that he's, er, accepting our terms.
He's gonna remove the missiles from Cuba.
BENNETT: Son of a bitch!
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
MEN: Speech. Speech. Speech!
Speech. Speech! Speech!
Well, I, er...
I suppose you've, er, all earned your pay this week.
It was a tremendous effort. Thank you all.
How does it feel?
Puts you right up there with Lincoln.
Well, maybe tonight I'll go to the theatre.
Well, you go, I go with you.
Thank you, general.
Goodness gracious. I haven't been home in a week. Ethel may have had another baby.
'While the quarantine Remains in effect,'
we are hopeful that adequate procedures
can be developed
for international inspection of Cuba-bound cargos.
Progress is now being made for the restoration of peace in the Caribbean.
And it is our firm hope and purpose
that this progress shall go forward,
not only for this time
but for all time.
What's he talking about?
Your daddy just saved the world.
E-mail us at [email protected]
Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes star as President John F Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, in Stephen Kronish's compelling drama series, charting the triumph and the tragedy of the first couple. It is October 1962 and Jack's marriage is a shambles because of his infidelity.
There is an impending crisis in the Caribbean - the Soviet Union has placed nuclear missiles on the island of Cuba. Tensions are high, and Jack is being pressured to attack Cuba with the purpose of removing the missiles.